Honoring Our Troops: The National Moment of Remembrance Act

A simple, meaningful way to honor deceased military personnel on Memorial Day

Girl and U.S. flag
The National Moment of Remembrance Act offers a simple, meaningful way you can honor deceased military personnel on Memorial Day. Photo © Shawn Gearhart/Vetta/Getty Images

For millions of Americans, the Memorial Day holiday/weekend signals the "official" start of summer. Sometimes lost during the gardening, barbecuing, vacationing and other activities that occur on or around the last Monday in May, however, is the true purpose of Memorial Day itself: a time to honor and remember those who gave their lives defending our freedoms while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

This article offers a simple, meaningful way you can honor deceased military personnel who served and sacrificed defending our freedoms, regardless of where you are or what you are doing, courtesy of the annual National Moment of Remembrance in the United States.

History: National Moment of Remembrance
As noted above, the purpose and meaning of the annual Memorial Day holiday is to honor and remember all of the men and women who died in the U.S. Armed Forces during times of war and/or defending the country's freedoms and values. Beginning in May 1997, many T.V. and radio stations nationwide broadcast a recording of "Taps" at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a tribute to deceased military service personnel.

On December 15, 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act (S.3181), which designated "the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day each year as the National Moment of Remembrance and establish[ed] the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance to encourage and coordinate the commemorations and observances of Memorial Day."

President Bill Clinton signed the act into law on December 28, 2000, and noted, "The observance of a National Moment of Remembrance is a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms."

Participation: National Moment of Remembrance
Participating in the National Moment of Remembrance is simplicity itself.

On Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time, regardless of where you are or what you are doing, you should pause and silently reflect for at least one minute on the service and sacrifice made by the men and women who died defending the freedoms and values we enjoy today.

Like many Americans, you might have been unaware of the annual National Moment of Remembrance, but now that you know about it, please participate and encourage your family members and friends to do the same on Memorial Day. As President Clinton noted after signing the act into law: "It is my hope that the establishment of the National Moment of Remembrance in law... will promote greater understanding of the meaning of the Memorial Day holiday for all Americans."

You Might Also Like:
The History, Lyrics and Meaning of "Taps"
10 Ways to Honor a Deceased Veteran on Memorial Day
Veterans Death, Burial & Memorial Benefits

Sources:
"Statement on Signing the National Moment of Remembrance Act" by William J. Clinton, December 28, 2000.

The American Presidency Project. Retrieved May 17, 2015. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=967

"S. 3181 -- National Moment of Remembrance Act," December 22, 2000. Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved May 17, 2015. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/s3181.pdf

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